Some North Texas hospitals are facing one of the worst nursing shortages they’ve experienced in decades.
"This is severe. This keeps me up at night," Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth Chief Nursing Officer Lynn O’Neill said of the worst shortage she’s experienced in her 32-year nursing career.
Plaza Medical Center administrators said hospital growth across North Texas, “baby boomer” nurses retiring and a lack of people teaching nursing classes contribute to the current shortage.
“We’re in a very competitive market in Fort Worth and in Dallas," O'Neill said. "There are a lot of hospitals. Texas is not a Certificate of Need state, so hospitals can pop up anywhere."
Plaza Medical Center emergency room nurse Megan Gallegos said it is easy to find a position almost anywhere related to nursing. With the responsibility for nurses to have quick assessment skills and be the primary caregiver for patients, Gallegos said it can become stressful.
"It can be definitely, in waves, during times of the day or when our patients are really sick," she said. "It would be really nice to have that other pair of hands so you can give the amount of care."
Plaza Medical Center offers several incentives to get more nurses in the door.
- $2,500 for employees who refer a qualified nurse
- $3,000-10,000 signing bonus for nurses
- Tuition Reimbursement
- "Texas Two-Step" in-house program to pay for employees in the lab or even kitchen to get their nursing degree
- Concierge services